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Joshua Jay
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Session is finally here!

Session: The Magic of Joel Givens ships the first week in July, and as author I’m happy to fill in some details

The concept is different. Joel and I figured that there are already too many magic books, and we wanted to produce something that readers could curl up with and enjoy in a few lengthy sittings. So rather than writing it like a reference book, I spun the tricks into a story!

The story is constructed just like a real session. Two magicians talk about their stuff. Joel performs entire “sets,” sometimes with three or four performances in a row. Then the effects are explained—sometimes with the obligatory begging. This allows you to envision how certain tricks play, and how they can be routined together. By offering explanations in this way, we also hope it provides a dramatic arc—a reason to keep turning the page…to figure out how the tricks are done!

Now some info on Joel Givens, for those who don’t know him. Joel lives in North Carolina. Other than Trapdoor, Semi-Automatic Card Tricks, and my column, he has published very little. To this date, he has lectured and performed at conventions only a couple times. He is, as they say, under the radar.

But all that changes now. I’m biased, of course, but Joel is a true magic artist. He is a technical wizard, and I do hope you guys get to see him work sometime. There’s some CRAZY passes and floating deck things near the end of Session, and I assure you he does them all perfectly.

But Joel utilizes subtlety, mathematics, and simple gimmicks to aid in his tricks. By drawing on all sorts of principles, his effects nearly ALWAYS involve several methods working together. This means his tricks generally aren’t “cute.” They’re foolers.

And, Joel’s a pro. He does more shows than any magician I know, and he has worked in his own stuff over years. Although much of the material is in print here for the first time, most of it has been honed in performance for over a decade. And it shows. These tricks are tight.

Lastly, a word about production. I work with Ben Harris on my items because he’s the best graphic artist in our business. And, I must say, he outdid himself here. The book REALLY feels like a novel, and he did every page with such care and precision. Steven Hienzelman did the photos, and he’s an unbelievable still life photographer. For those interested in this kind of thing, the photos in the book MATCH THE TEXT. The time on Joel’s watch reflects the time in the story…there’s a half-eaten burger in the background and a diminishing glass of coke. EVERYTHING is themed.

Please, check out an excerpt on my website: http://www.joshuajay.com/merchandise.html

And check out more info on my blog.

If you preorder the book (before July 8th), you’ll receive the booklet Five Forty Seven free. This is a separate set of notes with 8 OTHER unpublished effects by Joel, normally priced at 15 dollars. It is also printed on glossy paper, perfect bound, with crisp photos. It’s our way of saying thanks for supporting the project.

All the best, and I’d love to get emails from everyone once you’ve read the book. I hope you enjoy!

Joshua Jay
bugjack
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I just checked this out and read the excerpt (a generous freebie, I might add). I, for one, really like the style. Reminiscent of the two-character sections in "Dear Mr. Fantasy," I think it is both a more fun approach to a magic book and also one that provides a situational context for the tricks that enhances their appeal to the reader.

I'll definitely be picking it up.
Joshua Jay
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Really nice of you to say, Bugjack. I’m particularly flattered that you picked up on our main objective, which was to add context to these tricks.

You see, Joel’s background informs his magic. He did bar magic for a long time, and still does lots of strolling and restaurant work. As a result, lots of his items use straws, drinks, bottles, sugar packets, coffee, etc.

These tricks don’t mean much out of context! For example, he has a wonderful routine in which a borrowed bill appears rolled in a straw. This trick makes NO SENSE unless you’re performing in a bar, where a straw dispenser is naturally in your setting. There, it’s perfect! So we brought the settings to the tricks, and I hope that comes through.

There’s no doubt in my mind that some people will find the story gets in the way of the tricks. To combat this, I made sure to EXPLAIN the tricks without any interruptions from characters or dialogue. Learning from this book should feel the same as reading any other book.

I know the style won’t be for everyone, but I hope that those looking for something different will find it in Session.

Bugjack, thanks for writing!

Josh
Yves Tourigny
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Josh,

I'm curious. How many items are in the book? What is the proportion between published and unpublished materials? How many pages are in and what size is the book?
Thanks. I'M really looking forward for this book. I like the concept of putting tricks in context. It gives a sense of what magic should look like. We'll see if it works like you intended it to.

Yves
Joshua Jay
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Hi Yves,

The book is about 270 pages, and I believe there are about 40 items, and another 8 in Five Forty Seven, the companion volume.

As far as published to unpublished, it’s a tricky answer. Since Joel published lots of items in old issues of Trapdoor, there have been substantial developments on nearly everything. So while his incredible Karate Coin (Joeljitsu) was once in print, we devote nearly six pages and 10 photos to all sorts details that weren’t tipped in the original writing.

Effects like his Pseudo Memorized deck, his book test (which uses silly putty as a secret means to capture an impression), and his Heckler Stopper are all very lengthy items that have never appeared anywhere. I’d say there’s a good mix, but ALL the routines, even the published ones, have been updated and revamped with new detail.

The book is on a low gloss, heavy paper. And since it’s written like a paperback novel, Ben Harris gave it an authentic paperback novel feel. I forget the exact dimensions, but it isn’t 8.5 by 11. Rather, it’s something easier to travel with.

J
Peo Olsson
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Hi Josh,

Im definatly interested in this book, set me up for a pre-order.
Do you accept PayPal, and what will the total cost be to send it to sweden?
Will send you an pm with my details.

Best
Peo
Pictured to the left my hero and me during FISM 2006 in Stockholm.
Yves Tourigny
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Thanks a lot Josh. I don't know why but your answer will make waiting for this book a little more bearable. I've been hoping for this book for a long time, ever since I read many of his items in the Trapdoor, Magic Magazine, lecture notes and al.

Yves
kadz
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Hi Josh,
Is it possible for you to mention approximately how many tricks are cards, coins, and everyday objects?

and how much will international postage cost?
Joshua Jay
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Hi everyone (Hi Peo; good to see you here),

Postage is an issue. I'm new at the mail order thing, and I understand they did away with book rate. Now they tell me! So, I'm doing the honorable thing.

Postage is a modest 4 dollars everywhere in the world for all the people who already ordered. I'll stay this way until I can determine exactly what the book will cost to ship to Europe, and then I'll adjust accordingly.

But for the time being, go crazy, my treat.

As far as contents of the book, I'm trying not to give away too much. I already listed some of the bizarre objects Joel uses: coffee, creamers, straws, bottles, glasses, silly putty, coins, stirrers, rings, watches, tie bars, q-tips, bills¦and that's just off the top of my head. There is also a LOT of card stuff.

You see, I wrote the book without a table of contents at the beginning on purpose (don't worry¦ it's all extremely well-indexed in the back, for research). Like a novel, I don't want there to be expectations. I hope people don't flip to the pseudo-memorized deck or the Karate Coin or some of the more anticipated items. Instead, I hope they read the book cover to cover, as it was designed, and that they're pleasantly surprised by some of the material, the way the material works WITHIN each setting, and the thinking behind each piece. Even though I wrote the book, I used lots of conversation to bring Joel and thought-process onto the page. I hope that comes through.

Thank you all SOOO much for your interest. I hope this book lives up to its expectations! Joel's material certainly deserves a good home.

Josh
Magiguy
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Greatly looking forward to this book! Just placed my order...
Daren
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My order is in, very much looking forward to receiving this book and the bonus booklet
Christopher Williams
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Josh is an amazing writer of books. Troy Hooser was a brilliant book, Magic Atlas was awesome, now this! And for someone with such an incredible mind in Magic, my order was in a couple days ago and I sooo can't wait for this to come.
I agree that John Bannon's 'Story' style effects were brilliant, and a fun read, and I can only see this being just as good. It gives you a setting to imagine in your head of how it will play. Sometimes effects are written, and people read it, if it doesn't suit them they don't use it. However, they could be missing on how strong it is, as they don't imagine in their head how strong it really plays. By doing what Josh has done and put it in a novel kind of style, as with a novel, it builds the picture in your mind, and you can actually visualise how it will play.

Can't wait for this Josh!!!
www.magicman13.co.uk

Copies of the limited edition 'MindPlay' still available
Cameron Francis
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Man, this looks great! Thanks for posting about this.
RevJohn
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Order in.. and a thank you "booklet" to boot. Sweet.

Looking forward to it, and excited about the style it is written in.

RevJohn
Motor City
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I, too, am looking forward to the book. I have had the pleasure of being fooled badly by Joel at Fechter's. Can't wait to learn some of the stuff he fried me with.

John Luka
Xiqual
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My order has been placed as well. The excerpt is great, killer trick.

Josh, I am just a bit worried about the shipping. Surface mail is very unsafe these days. I have lost many,many items surface mail. Will you be using airmail for the overseas pre-orders?
Thank you,
James Linn
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Markymark
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I think Surface mail is no longer available in the U.S.
I am guessing the book will go in a mailer anywhere in the world for $10.00
So Josh is offering a great deal.
''In memory of a once fluid man,crammed and distorted by the classical mess'' -Bruce Lee
eryanic
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This will be an enjoyable read. Placed my order..
emyers99
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Looks like Josh published several of the tricks from the book in this month's MAGIC
VcosNJ
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I'll put an order in for this as soon as I get my funds. Looking forward to it!
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